Josh Allen a Wild-Card Weekend DFS Lock
NFL Wild Card - Playoff DFS is a special type of fun, and wild-card weekend is one of the most fun DFS weeks of the year. Due to the nature of the playoffs, we can constantly adjust our lineups based on the knowledge we have early on. If you have studs fail in the Saturday games, you can swap out some chalky pieces from the upcoming games and get weird in order to claw yourself back into the green. There are always lots of slates available for wild-card weekend, and the pricing can sometimes differ depending on which set of contests you choose. This article is using pricing from the full six-game slate.
Josh Allen $7900 vs. Miami Dolphins
The Bills head into the playoffs with Josh Allen having four straight games with over 20 fantasy points along with 53 rushing attempts in his last six games. Allen's combination of a strong arm and high floor due to his legs is an absolute standout in the wild-card round. The Dolphins have had four games against dual-threat quarterbacks this season, including two against Allen, and they allowed a total of 421 rushing yards and two touchdowns to quarterbacks in those games. Allen has played in six postseason games so far into his career and has averaged 61.8 rushing yards, on top of his 286.3 passing yards and 2.3 passing touchdowns.
Usage Suggestions: Allen is likely the surest play of the weekend against a Miami defense that allowed the third-most quarterback fantasy points this season. Allen should be considered a cash game lock and viable for tournaments with his total rostership kept in mind.
Justin Herbert $6600 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
In one of the more juicy matchups of the weekend for fantasy purposes, Justin Herbert will face the Jaguars, who are the third-worst remaining pass defense in DVOA. Seven quarterbacks who faced the Jaguars scored over 20 points this season, including three since Week 12. Herbert has disappointed in a couple of prime spots over the last month, but when the playoffs come around players tend to give every ounce that they have, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Herbert add more rushing yards to his boxscore than the 4 he averaged over the last 5 games.
Usage Suggestions: Herbert feels more comfortable for tournaments than cash games, and there is some appeal to heavily attacking this game in the hopes it turns into a shootout.
Kirk Cousins $5900 vs. New York Giants
Sunday's game between the Giants and Vikings features two bottom-six defenses in DVOA, the worst remaining defenses left standing at this point in the season. The Giants defense was tied for the fewest interceptions in the league with six entering the playoffs, and this doesn't feel like the kind of spot where Kirk Cousins will melt down. When the two teams met in Week 17, Cousins had a poor day for fantasy purposes with 7.9 fantasy points, but over the previous three games he had averaged 27.2, and he has a good chance to get hot again with the Vikings hosting this game.
Usage Suggestions: Cousins is a nice play in tournaments where people might talk themselves into the "prime-time Kirk" narrative and he will likely be under-rostered.
Brock Purdy $5300 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Since making his debut in Week 13, Brock Purdy has averaged 18.0 points per game and has thrown for two or more passing touchdowns in each game. The Seahawks have allowed six quarterbacks to score 18 or more points against them this year, and their passing defense ranks 17th on the season. Purdy is the best budget option for the weekend, with Tyler Huntley being cheaper but far less reliable.
Usage Suggestions: Purdy is cheap enough to consider for cash games if it opens up enough ceiling elsewhere in your lineups. For tournaments, stacking Purdy with George Kittle will take advantage of a big Seahawks weakness.
Saquon Barkley $7900 @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings struggle against running backs in all areas of the game, ranking 28th in DVOA against the rush and 22nd covering passes to running backs. Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to running backs catching the ball this season, and when the two teams met in Week 16, Barkley had 10 targets and finished the day as the RB2 that week with 27.3 points.
Usage Suggestions: In cash games, Barkley looks to be very popular this week. He can be used in tournaments, but we need to be mindful of how we use him; correlations with Justin Jefferson or onslaughts with heavy exposures to this game feel like the right way to do so.
Travis Etienne $6300 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Through the fantasy playoffs, Travis Etienne faced several tough run defenses and wasn't able to put up the kinds of performances we'd like from a workhorse running back. Now he finds himself in a prime matchup with the Chargers run defense, which ranks 31st over the last four games. The Chargers have allowed seven running backs to score over 20 PPR points against them this season, including three since Week 12.
Usage Suggestions: Etienne is a strong enough play for all formats and the most appealing play on the Jaguars side of the ball. He can be used as a bring-back to Chargers stacks.
J.K. Dobbins $5700 @ Cincinnati Bengals
The status of Lamar Jackson (along with Gus Edwards, who is in concussion protocol) may still be up in the air, but this only strengthens the chances of J.K. Dobbins seeing a large workload this weekend. Dobbins was rested for Week 18 and should be as fresh as he has been this year for a huge game against the Bengals.
Usage Suggestions: Dobbins doesn't feel safe enough for cash games with his value hinging on touchdowns, but he is a fine play for tournaments, where we are swinging for upside.
Leonard Fournette $5300 vs. Dallas Cowboys
This is the time of year when Leonard Fournette changes his name to "Playoff Lenny" and starts totting up touchdowns, with 10 in his eight career playoff games, including at least one in every appearance with the Buccaneers. Fournette was largely rested in Week 18, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him take the larger share of the backfield touches this weekend.
Usage Suggestions: The matchup isn't ideal, with the Cowboys ranked fifth against the run, so Fournette is best reserved for tournaments and can be correlated with Dalton Schultz who has a strong matchup.
Justin Jefferson $8400 vs. New York Giants
Whilst Justin Jefferson is involved in the playoffs, we should be looking to utilize him. Jefferson had nine games this season where he scored 25 or more PPR points and it should come as no surprise he was the WR1 in DYAR and effective yards. When these teams met in Week 16, Jefferson had 34.3 points on a whopping 16 targets and the Giants had few answers for him.
Usage Suggestions: Jefferson is a lock for all formats this weekend with few other players having a combination of high ceiling and high floor like he possesses, along with such a great matchup.
Ja'Marr Chase $8000 vs. Baltimore Ravens
In four career games against the Ravens, Ja'Marr Chase has seen 45 targets and averaged 115 receiving yards. Those receiving yards are bulked up by games against a depleted secondary in 2021, but Chase's volume is enough to keep him in play as we can pencil him in for seven or eight catches a game. The Bengals have gotten hot at the right time of the year, and despite the Ravens defense being a tough matchup, if the Bengals score points it's likely to be with Chase.
Usage Suggestions: It'll be hard to fit both Justin Jefferson and Chase into the same lineup without making sacrifices elsewhere, and for cash games, Jefferson may be the better selection. In tournaments, Chase can be correlated with either J.K. Dobbins or Mark Andrews without the need to add Joe Burrow, who might not put up enough points to compete with other quarterbacks on the slate.
Stefon Diggs $7600 vs. Miami Dolphins
Stefon Diggs scored more points in Week 18 than he had in the previous three combined, and he'll be hoping to keep that going against a Miami defense that ranks 27th against the pass in DVOA over the last four games. Diggs has played in 10 playoff games, averaging 75 receiving yards in the appearances for Buffalo. The Dolphins are a pass-funnel defense, ranking second against the run, and it will be no surprise if the Bills come out with a pass-heavy approach.
Usage Suggestions: Diggs feels underpriced for this matchup and can be used in all formats. Stacking Diggs with Allen will be a popular choice, so aim to be different elsewhere in your lineup or add in Dawson Knox, who has a great matchup.
Keenan Allen $7000 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars defense ranks 28th against WR1s and has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing slot receivers, where Keenan Allen plays an average of 63% of his snaps. All signs point towards a big day for Allen, regardless of whether Mike Williams can play or not. If, however, Williams does miss out or is limited, then Allen becomes a must-play.
Usage Suggestions: Allen is in a great matchup and at a great price. Don't be surprised if this is a popular game to attack heavily. Stacking Allen with Justin Herbert and using Travis Etienne as a bring-back is one of the most appealing stacks of the weekend.
Deebo Samuel $5700 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Nothing scares fantasy football managers like a player coming off an injury, but there should be optimism for Deebo Samuel, who logged a full week of practice before the Week 18 games and likely could have played if the 49ers had needed him to. Samuel saw four rush attempts in both of his last two games, and with the 49ers facing a Seattle defense that ranks 23rd against the run, it wouldn't be surprising to see Kyle Shanahan scheme Samuel more of those looks.
Usage Suggestions: Samuel isn't a safe enough play for cash games but can be deployed in tournaments, particularly as leverage off a more chalky George Kittle, whom we'll get to below.
Richie James $3900 @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings allow the second-most fantasy points of any team to opposing slot receivers, surrendering 23.5 points per game to players lining up there. Richie James averages 83.7% of his routes from the slot and scored 17 points against the Vikings in Week 16, catching eight of his 11 targets.
Usage Suggestions: James makes for excellent leverage off the more chalky Saquon Barkley this weekend and is a great pay-down option.
George Kittle $6100 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Just when it looked like we were done streaming tight ends against the Seahawks for the year, they snuck into the playoffs and gave us one more great opportunity to do so. The Seahawks have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and rank 27th against the position in DVOA. When these two teams met in Week 15, Kittle scored 25.3 points, starting a run of four games where he scored seven total touchdowns.
Usage Suggestions: Kittle's red-hot form isn't a secret from anyone, and he'll likely be a very chalky play this week. Because of that, he makes a fine play for cash games and can be utilized in tournaments with Brock Purdy as a cheap stacking partner. Be mindful of how you build around Kittle given his chalkiness.
Mark Andrews $5200 @ Cincinnati Bengals
It seems unlikely that Lamar Jackson will play against the Bengals and it's hard to imagine the Ravens beating the Bengals without him. Before Tyler Huntley and Mark Andrews were rested in Week 18, they were both coming off great games where Huntley connected with Andrews on all nine of his targets, which Andrews turned into 100 yards. If you're betting on the Bengals to put the Ravens in a pass-heavy script, then Andrews is the obvious candidate to play. Andrews has six career touchdowns against the Bengals, including two in his last two appearances against them.
Usage Suggestions: Without Lamar Jackson playing, Andrews isn't a great option for cash games, but in tournaments, we might get him at a low-rostered level as people either pay up for George Kittle or down to some of the cheaper options below.
T.J. Hockenson $5100 vs. New York Giants
When these teams met in Week 16, T.J. Hockenson scored the third most fantasy points that any tight end scored this season, putting up 38.9 DraftKings points against the Giants, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to the position this year. The Giants rank 31st in DVOA against the position and have allowed six different tight ends to have 50 or more receiving yards.
Usage Suggestions: Hockenson's role and the matchup are healthy enough to consider him for all formats. For tournaments, stacking Hockenson with Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson feels like a slam dunk.
Gerald Everett $3900 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The only team that ranks worse than the Giants against tight ends is the Jaguars, who are dead last in DVOA. Gerald Everett has been steady this season, with six double-digit fantasy performances, averaging 5.4 targets per game. If Mike Williams is limited, Everett could be thrust into a bigger role against a Jaguars defense that has allowed five different tight ends to score a touchdown since Week 10.
Usage Suggestions: If Mike Williams is limited in practices, then Everett becomes a safer play for cash games and will likely be the most popular pay-down option. In tournaments, we can stack him with Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen and bring it back with Travis Etienne, hoping for a big points day.
Dawson Knox $4000 vs. Miami Dolphins
The Miami defense struggles in plenty of areas of the game, including against tight ends, where they rank 30th and have allowed the third-most fantasy points to the position. When these teams met in Week 15, Dawson Knox had his biggest game of the season, scoring 21.8 points with six catches for 98 yards. The Dolphins have allowed 11 tight ends to score touchdowns against them, and that feels like the absolute minimum Knox could do this weekend.
Usage Suggestions: Knox is the best pay-down option at tight end this weekend and can be played in all formats.
As always, this article will be updated until the games kick off and as the slate develops. If you have any questions jump into the Discord, or find me on Twitter.
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